Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Faith vs. Works

Last weekend I had the privilege of going to a one-day conference out in Lancaster put on by Hope for Orphans with a couple of other women from my church.  I've been silent in blog-world this week, as I've been really processing alot of what I heard. 

Did you know??  The Bible mentions caring for the poor and oppressed 21 HUNDRED times in scripture?  2,100 times!!!  Now, I knew God had (has!) a heart for the hurting.  Many people do.  But God doesn't simply stop there.  He has a heart for those who hurt.....and then He DOES something about it!  Over and over throughout scripture, we see a God who heals the sick, provides food for the hungry, comforts the hurting.  His love extends out and reaches actual, physical needs.

What exactly is this relationship between our salvation and our works?  We know that we are NOT saved by our works.  It is simply a free gift that God gives us.  There is NOTHING we can DO to receive salvation.  No matter how good we are.  God loves us, not because of what we've done, but because of who He is.  That being said, the Bible says that "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:26).  Clearly works is important too!

So how do the two reconcile? 

According to Tim Keller, in his book, The Prodigal God, :

"Religion operates on the principle of  'I obey - therefore I am accepted by God.'  The basic operating principle of the gospel, however,  is 'I am accepted by God - therefore, I obey.'" 

We obey God's commands and strive to live like Jesus, not out of fear or guilt, or because we want to earn favor with God, but because we are loved eternally by our Creator.  "We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19).  He therefore, becomes the source of our love.  And it is because of Him, that we love in the first place.

The more I have grown in my relationship with God, the more I DESIRE to do the things He commands.  The more His heart, becomes my heart (or at least that is my hope!!! :)  The more you have become aware of God's overwhelming love for you, how has it compelled you to love others??  Because according to God's Word, it should!!!   As we grow in Him, we should be compelled to not only "love" others in theory, but to put that love into action.  We are called to love like Jesus, in word AND in deed. The two should go hand in hand.

When we began this crazy adoption journey, everyone who had gone before us told us that God would provide.  They all said that the money would just be there.  And. It. Has.   But that money has not just appeared out of thin air.  It has been because of people (like many of YOU!!), who have matched your deeds to your words.  It has been because God has blessed us tremendously with brothers and sisters in Christ who DESIRE to put their faith into action. 

For proof, take a look at our fundraising thermometer to the right!  It just keeps creeping up!  Just the other week, it was at $8,000.  Today, we have raised a total of $10,000.  Every penny, exactly and perfectly when it was needed.  Not a moment before.  Who knew??!!?  Well, it turns out, God did. :)

We are truly blessed.  Thank you for loving on orphans, and in the process, loving on us!

"Dear children, let us stop loving with words or lips alone, but let us love with actions and in truth."
1 John 3:18


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